Lien to lead group to China
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) is scheduled to lead a delegation to attend a Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-KMT economic forum on Dec. 20 and Dec. 21. The CCP-KMT economic forum, initiated by Lien and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and first held in 2006, is scheduled to be held in Shanghai this year, the KMT said yesterday. The party announced that Lien will leave for China on Dec. 14 and visit Tianjin and Hangzhou before attending the forum in Shanghai. Lien reached a consensus with Hu on the holding of regular KMT-CCP meetings during his first visit to Beijing in 2005. Lien stressed the importance of the KMT-CCP forum in pushing cross-strait cooperation when he attended an APEC meeting last month.
Hau inks sister city pact
Taipei City has established sister city links with Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, and will donate ambulances to help improve medical conditions there, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) announced yesterday. Hau said at a signing ceremony that the two cities first established ties in 2002 during a visit to Taipei by the mayor of Ouagadougou and that the new alliance would further enhance mutual trust and facilitate partnerships between the two diplomatic allies. The two cities are expected to launch various initiatives and collaborate in areas such as public affairs management, information technology, transportation, the environment and health, Hau said. As a first step, Hau pledged that Taipei would donate four ambulances to Ouagadougou and would assist with the construction of a youth center in the African city, known for its craftsmanship, to provide a space for its culture to thrive.
Gay rights carnival today
In an effort to promote gay rights in Kaohsiung, the city government and the Gender/Sexuality Rights Association, Taiwan is organizing a carnival from 1pm to 5pm in front of the Kaohsiung Film Archive today, the association said in a press release yesterday. As gay and lesbians still face severe discrimination in society, the association hopes to promote gay-friendliness and bridge understandings between gays and non-gays through games featuring gay-related issues at the carnival. The group has chosen Kaohsiung to hold the event because it sees Kaohsiung as the city with the most diversity in southern Taiwan, and wants to use the city as a base for its gay rights campaign there. The Kaohsiung Film Archive is located at 10 Hesi Rd, Yancheng District (鹽埕), Kaohsiung City. For details, visit gsrat.net.
‘Duck boat’ plans delayed
The Kaohsiung City Government might not be able to introduce amphibious tourist “duck boats” before the World Games next year, a city official said yesterday. Kaohsiung City Transportation Bureau Director Wang Kuo-tsai (王國材) said his bureau had appropriated nearly NT$60 million (US$1.8 million) for purchasing the boats to diversify the leisure activities for city residents and to boost tourism during the World Games. But he said plans to build two “duck boats” were not going well and it would be “difficult to debut them before the World Games open on July 16.” The bureau first opened a tender for the “ducks” — modeled after a World War II amphibious landing vehicle — on Nov. 26, but nobody came forward, and the bureau had to open a second tender on Thursday that will close on Dec. 8.